Falcons end Smith’s tenure

The Falcons were thrashed 34-3 at home by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, handing the NFC South title to their opponents, who make the post-season despite finishing the season with a losing 7-8-1 record.

Smith had been in charge at the Georgia Dome since 2008 and reached the play-offs in four of his first five seasons – he came close to reaching the Super Bowl in 2012 but lost the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers.

But the last two seasons have been poor, with the Falcons stumbling to a 4-12 record in 2013 and failing to make the most of a poor division this season – they would have won the division with a 7-9 record had they beaten the Panthers in their finale.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a press release:??”Smitty’s contributions to our club, team and city over the last seven years are numerous.

“His accomplishments on the field made him the most successful coach in the 49-year history of the Falcons, and we are grateful for the foundation he has laid for us for the future.”

Smith was the third NFL head coach to lose his job in the 24 hours after the regular season concluded, with the San Francisco 49ers parting company with Jim Harbaugh and the New York Jets firing Rex Ryan.